Some time ago Scott Wilson, founder of the Chicago-based product and design studio MINIMAL, had an idea: to create two watch enclosures for Apple’s latest iPod nano and transform the Apple mp3 player into geekiest wristwatch ever. All he did was to put his project on Kickstarter with the goal of raising $15,000. And when he did so, he probably wasn’t expecting his project to become the most successfully funded in the crowdfunding site history.
Six hours ago the funding closed with really astonishing numbers: in total, 13,510 people have contributed with $941,558.
It’s a huge record, and we’ll probably keep writing about it for a while. But what amazes me the most are not the huge number of people participating or the total amount of money wilson’s project gathered. What’s new and enlightening is that we’re not talking about software, code, internet tools and other digital stuff like this.
We’re talking about hardware.
Wilson will use (and is already using) the money gathered online to build something you will buy, touch, use and appreciate in the real world. He is just back from a trip to China where he met his suppliers, tested the first prototypes, made new arrangements, posted a video to give his supporters a glimpse into the process of manufacturing the product and show “how much craft, hand work and care goes into the metal and even the silicone strap”.
The products (the TikTok ($35) and the LunaTik ($70) model) look beautiful and more than 13,000 people have already told Wilson they do like it (isn’t it a hell of a focus group?).
All this feels so real and makes me think about the possibilities: we are used to say that the Internet is changing the way we get and share informations or ideas or the way we interact with each other. But what Wilson and his project are proving right now is IMHO that – if properly used – the web can help us transforming a beatiful piece of design, a simple and smart idea into a real mass-market product.